Dealing with COPD can be stressful – both physically and emotionally. Having a community of understanding people around you – whether they’re patients, caregivers, experts, family members, or friends (in-person and online!) – can be extremely helpful, however, we wanted to find out more from our experts. So, check out their answers to the following question:
I’ve heard/felt that the mental impact of COPD (i.e., anxiety, depression) can be as bad as the physical impact. How do I deal with this?
Response from John
Studies show that exercise, even if it’s a simple walk, can boost your mood and keep you healthy. So make sure you stay as active as you can during the course of your life. It’s also essential that you see your doctor on a regular basis and follow your treatment regime to a tee. It’s also a good idea to join a pulmonary rehabilitation program to teach you how to stay active. Such programs also offer a supporting case of medical experts and fellow COPDers to motivate you. It also helps to have a good supporting case of friends and friends, and to hang around COPD communities like ours.
Response from Leon
Coping with COPD is a challenge that can be met. There is no question, that the physical impact of COPD can be significant. However, patients with COPD also report or demonstrate symptoms that can include a full range of emotions. These may include: depression, fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, helplessness, etc. Life with COPD has its moments, both good and bad. This is considered normal; adjusting to life with a chronic disease can take a long time and extensive support. To help deal with the range of feelings you are experiencing, combined with your physical symptoms, you can begin by discussing your feelings with your physician. After that, reaching out for additional support can be of great benefit. Family, friends, as well as your team of health care providers in a rehabilitation program or home care setting will complement one another’s efforts. For additional resources you may find this link at COPD.net helpful.
Response from Lyn
For some, the anxiety and mental anguish associated with a COPD diagnosis can be as overwhelming as the disease itself and have a significant impact on your life. First, talk candidly with your doctor about how you feel emotionally. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about your feelings. There are many treatments available for depression and anxiety related to COPD. Remember, knowledge is power, so educate yourself about COPD and learn ways to adjust your lifestyle to accommodate how you feel. This will alleviate some of the anxiety associated with COPD. Learn your limits and respect them. Ask family and friends for support and understanding. You may find joining a support group and interacting with other people in a similar situation is also beneficial.